Why THIS Silicone Valley Sexual Harassment Case Matters So Much

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Why THIS Silicone Valley Sexual Harassment Case Matters So Much

Courts Rule in Favour of Firm in $16 Million Dollar Sexual Harassment and Gender Exclusion Case

On 30th March 2015 The San Francisco Superior Court delivered a very important ruling on a sexual harassment case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Beyers. They ruled in favour of the firm in one of the most historical sexual harassment cases of the last decade.

The case of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Beyers versus Ellen Pao, who sued the firm for gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Her complaint was the behaviours within the Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Beyers had intentionally stalled her career and prevented her from advancing within the firm. She filed a detailed complaint about years of exclusion within in the company, where advancement positions were reserved only for men. She also made allegations of ongoing sexual harassment from one specific employees at the firm.

She stated that a male employee pressured her into having an extra-marital affair with him and that he began punishing her within the firm when that relationship ended. She claimed that eventually he sabotaged her position by excluding her from important emails, business trips and meetings. This eventually led to her dismissal from her job position within the company.

In response that Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Beyers gave was that Ellen Pao was incompetent and did not suit the position that she had been hired for. They claimed that she was dismissed not because of discrimination but because of poor performance.

This sexual harassment case was filed in 2012 but because of it’s complex nature a ruling was not made until March of this year. The courts ruled in favour of the firm and against Pao who lost her 16 Million dollar case. Despite the fact that Pao lost the case this particular sexual harassment and gender harassment the court ordeal is still considered to be a landmark ruling.

The reason why THIS silicone valley sexual harassment case matters so much is because of the circumstances of which the case was filed. A unique situation where a female complainant stood up against an extremely powerful venture capital firm and very publicly told a familiar story about harassment and the gender bias that she experienced. After a three year legal battle the courts did not rule in Pao’s favor. However, this publicized court case has inspired many new conversations and discussions about the existence of sexual harassment and gender inequality in corporate business environments throughout the world.

At the end of the day the court could not find enough sufficient evidence to rule in the victim’s favour. However, the court case was not without substantial cost in reputation and financial loss to the firm.

Sexual Harassment and Gender Diversity Training From Proven Training Solutions

At Proven Training Solutions, we believe that cases like this should never happen. By providing the proper training tools for employees, business operators can avoid expensive, reputation destroying cases that leave them in a bad position no matter how the courts rule. By upholding clear zero tolerance guidelines as well as educating employees about sexual harassment and diversity in the workplace, we can stomp out harmful behaviour and allow everyone to co-exist and cooperate to the benefit of the business operation.

At the end of the day in sexual harassment lawsuits like this there are no winners. If you believe this could never happen in your business operation then you are unfortunately mistaken. However, if you take action to provide preventative training and education to your staff you can avoid this type of damaging, and efficiency hindering court case.

Read More About Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Tools From Proven Training Solutions 

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About the Author: Bill Walsh

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